India, Australia cleared to buy $4.3B in US military gear

 The Biden administration this week approved a trio of potential foreign military sales cases for Australia and India, items worth a potential $4.36 billion for American companies.

On Thursday, Australia was cleared to purchase a package of Heavy Armored Combat Systems, with an estimated price tag of $1.685 billion, and four CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters, with an estimated price tag of $259 million. On Friday, India was cleared to purchase six P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, worth an estimated $2.42 billion.FMS notification figures represent potential arms sales that the State Department internally cleared, then passed to Congress through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The notifications do not represent final sales; if Congress does not reject the potential sale, it then goes into negotiations, during which dollar figures and quantities of equipment can change.

The potential sales go to two key allies for the U.S. as it is increasingly focused on the Pacific. Both nations are part of the “Quad,” a group of like-minded partners that also includes the U.S. and Japan.The Indian package would include the six P-8I aircraft, as well as radio systems, engines, navigational systems, and contractor support. Boeing is the primary contractor, with work performed at its Seattle facility. The proposed sale “will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” according to the DSCA notification.India procured eight P-8I aircraft in Jan. 2009 via a direct commercial sale, and went under contract for another four in July 2016. The Indian Navy has operated the planes since 2013.

The Australian Heavy Armored Combat Systems package involves taking 160 M1A1 Tank structures and hulls provided from U.S. stock, and then using those to produce a variety of vehicles and equipment, including: 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; 29 M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles; 18 M1074 Joint Assault Bridges; six M88A2 Hercules Combat Recovery Vehicles; and 122 AGT1500 gas turbine engines.

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